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  • feedwordpress 16:52:37 on 2017/06/08 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , ,   

    Emotional Intelligence Meets Travel Planning 

    travel_planning

    What do emotional intelligence and travel planning have in common? Plenty. I have been traveling extensively for business (and a little pleasure) for 3 straight months. To be honest, it is wearing on me. Several of my trips involved being gone for 5 days; only to come home for 3 or 4 days and leave again for a week. I have been a business traveler for 27 years.

    While the typical person thinks traveling is glamorous, the business traveler has a different perspective. Often business travelers put in very long days. They may not pack until late at night before their departure the next morning. Then they wake up early to get to the airport in plenty of time to wade through security lines. The traveler then sits and waits until boarding time. Sometimes boarding times are delayed—even by hours. Then the traveler gets to sit on an airplane for hours before finally arriving at their destination.

    The busy executive traveler may get to the hotel quickly or not. Hotel check-in is next which usually goes pretty fast but maybe not because a group of conventioneers is checking in. This is followed by dinner and then working on emails and getting ready for the next day’s meetings, or in my case, teaching full-day workshops to 25 attendees. If the executive is dedicated, they will squeeze in their time at the gym. And I must not forget, their time to call their family or significant other or ailing parent.

    If you are an assistant reading this Monday Motivator, you know the story. But what you may not realize is the importance of your role in doing the best job possible to ease your executive’s travel experience. While planning the logistics is critically important, the only way you will be a Rock Star in your executive’s eyes is to use emotional intelligence.

    That means you will walk yourself through the trip as if you were the traveler but through the eyes of an executive who already has 100 things on their mind. One quick example of using emotional intelligence is reminding your executive to have plenty of single dollar bills on hand before they leave for their trip. These dollar bills come in quite handy for tips! I hate it if I don’t have any single dollar bills because I don’t want to tip the skycap $5 for 1 bag and I don’t like having to ask the skycap for change. This may seem minute to you, but not to your traveler. Be a Rock Star!!

    I remember when I was an assistant, I had one executive who had to know the configuration of the plane and see the chart of seats. Now, this was in the day when we did not have the tools we have today. I had to call the travel agent or airline to get a picture of the configuration of the plane. I couldn’t figure out why it was such a big deal. Well now that I’m a traveler, I get it. Fortunately, I can easily see the configuration of a plane and also discuss my preferences with Melia (my assistant).

    Another way an administrative assistant can be a Rock Star is to create a list of all the important items your executive should pack. Yes, you! Again, make traveling easy for your traveler. They have enough things on their mind. This list would include everything from chargers to rain coats, workout clothes (in detail), to toiletries (in detail) and special medications. I have a list like this that is on every itinerary my assistant creates. I always go through the list just before I close up my bag to ensure I have everything. While you might think a person who travels all the time would have this down pat, don’t assume so. It’s actually the opposite. Because I travel all the time, it is easy to forget that one little item and then it creates issues for me or consumes time for me when I get to my destination. I don’t need any extra work or stress when I am traveling for business.

    Another area you can apply emotional intelligence is if you arrange travel for a female executive. The greatest concern for female travelers is safety. So think through their trip. Are there nice restaurants in walking distance? Is there a full-service restaurant in the hotel so when they arrive late from their flight, they can just stay at the hotel to eat? Is there a nice spa close by so your busy female traveler (who is probably a wife or mother), can treat herself to a spa treatment?

    I am just touching the tip of the iceberg on this subject. What this boils down to is:

    1. Be empathetic of your traveler, even if you only arrange a few trips a year. Also, this information would apply to your own trips or family trips.
    2. Know your traveler’s preferences inside and out! Example…. I will not use Uber or Lyft. Yes, thousands of people use them even several of my females friends use them. For me, these services are not regulated enough nor monitored like a town car service. Personally, when I travel by myself, I will not use those services. I am happy to pay extra money to feel safe.
    3. After every business trip, you should hold a debrief meeting with your executive. Discuss what your executive liked and what did not work. When I return from a trip, I will tell my assistant what I liked about the hotel and whether I would stay there again if I am to return to that city in the future. I will discuss specifics of that hotel and we make notes of things I liked or did not like. If I don’t go back to that city for a year, I will not remember every little detail. I even document which restaurants I liked and why I liked them. I don’t want to have to think about these things every time I go to that city!
    4. Don’t just let your executive say, “The trip was fine.” If you use emotional intelligence, you want to know exactly what worked so you can duplicate it. And not duplicate what upset your executive. Executives are funny people in that they won’t talk to their assistant about the little nuances but when they hire me for coaching or training, they tell me every little minute detail that frustrates them that their assistant does when coordinating their travel. So take the time to be an investigator and ask the right questions.
    5. One assistant I had, used to surprise me with little post-it notes in my trainer toolkit or file folder that I would see upon my arrival or the first day of training. She would write a short hello note and wish me a great day or trip. I loved that she took the time to add that extra touch and it made me feel closer to home.

    I would like to challenge you to think about where else you can apply emotional intelligence when coordinating your executive’s travel. Dig deep and see how you can be a Rock Star Travel Planner!

    Joan Burge

    P.S. If you currently don’t book any travel, still keep my words of advice. Your situation can change at any time.

    Join TRAVO and Joan Burge for more tips and tricks on travel planning by signing up for our free webinar. You can learn more about TRAVO by clicking the banner below.

    Travel_Planning_App

    The post Emotional Intelligence Meets Travel Planning appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:30:19 on 2017/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , ,   

    Choosing Excellence Every Day 

    administrative_assistant_training

    I absolutely loved Joan Burge’s article, Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving! As John D. Rockefeller noted, “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”

    The principle she discussed of renewing and improving core skills is closely related to what Steven Covey calls “Sharpening the Saw”:  the deliberate improvement of our tools to help us become more effective. To be of greatest benefit, sharpening the saw needs to become a habit, rather than a disruptive activity; ideally, it should be embedded in the very way you do work, and you should regularly set aside time for more focused work in this area as well.

    Can you imagine how a self-perpetuating plan for professional development would affect your work over time? The impact might at first seem to be minimal as you save a few minutes here or a headache there; over time, however, the cumulative effect of all these improvements will be to transform you from an employee who does what they are told to a professional who largely dictates the course of their career.

    To make continual improvement a part of the way you work, it is best to strive to integrate it with your work, rather than disrupting your work patterns.  This way, it complements your career instead of competing with it.  Start with some simple daily routines and then, as those improvements give you better control over your workflow, start blocking time for more ambitious development activities.  The following outlines strategies I have used to great effect in my own career to make development an integral part of my professional life.  These changes did not happen overnight, but incrementally over a course of years. Nonetheless, they outline a sure path to fulfilling your career potential.

    Lay the Foundation

    Before you can master any skill or role, you must have a holistic vision what it encompasses and entails. Achieving excellence as an administrative professional is no different.  If you do not have one yet, create a manual to define the scope of your responsibilities and the procedures you use to fulfill those responsibilities.  This is a time-consuming task, but essential.  If you have never created such a manual before – or if you want a jump-start on the process – Julie Perrine has created a great process for developing one with her “Become a Procedures Pro 5-Day Challenge“.

    Daily

    Once you have a procedures manual in place, you can use it to capture process improvements you make on the fly for later addition to your manual. For simple notes, I like to use sticky notes on the frame of my monitor as placeholders until I have a chance to document the change; when the monitor gets too crowded, then I know I need to make time for an update.

    For more complicated procedures, Julie Perrine’s program (mentioned above) includes paper templates that you can print and keep handy for creating handwritten procedures to place in your print manual until you are ready to type them up. Personally, since my work-in-progress list and manual are both in OneNote, my preferred method is to create a work-In-progress page for more complicated updates and ideas, then transfer it directly into my manual notebook when complete.

    Weekly

    At least once a week, it’s a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture.  If you have a professional development plan, set aside 30 minutes on Friday to review your goals and make adjustments. Take note of any areas where you are falling behind; eliminate or adjust any tasks or goals that have become irrelevant or obsolete.  If you have a mentoring relationship, share this weekly review by email: this allows you to stay in touch and get feedback without placing a burden on your mentoring partner by requiring their attention “right now.”

    Monthly

    Once you have gotten into the above habits, it’s important to start scheduling time for a deeper dive into your professional development plan, as well as for extended training sessions. For the latter, be sure to also include time to make a personal action plan based on the training.

    I particularly want to mention Office Dynamics’ monthly webinars here. I have been following them for a while now, and always come away with some fresh ideas to try – more than once doing so to accolades from my executives. As Andree Caldwell noted, “The role of an Executive Assistant is to make sure the executive is always prepared, and always ‘in the know.’”  I know of no better resource available for getting that insider knowledge, and even the most unimaginative employer cannot balk at the cost: incredibly, these webinars are offered at no cost to the attendees!

    Once a month is also a great schedule for meeting with your mentoring partner; ideally, you should arrange this meeting to occur somewhere away from the office.   The change in scenery will literally light up new parts of your brain that lie dormant in your everyday environment, and face-to-face time with a trusted friend will help recharge your emotional batteries in a way that an email simply cannot do.  Beyond that, in person conversations are the right place for off -the-record conversation, and provide the opportunity for stimulating real-time debate and collaboration.

    Quarterly

    If you are proactively making time for professional development on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you will most likely find that you have an increasing ability to dictate where you invest your time and focus.  This is a natural outgrowth of a continuous improvement habit and allows you to take your game to the next level.

    One of my favorite bloggers is Michael Hyatt; of his many wonderful suggestions, one of my favorites is what he calls the Quarterly Review: a full-day, personal, quarterly offsite in which you to take stock of your professional development plan, make course corrections and reset priorities for the coming quarter.  Make no mistake, however – this level of commitment to your development requires planning.  As Michael observes, “If you wait until you have a break in your schedule, you’ll never get to it. You have to make appointments with yourself and schedule other things around it.”  You can follow up with a special quarterly mentoring meeting for added benefit.

    If you can get your employer’s blessing for this kind of a review day – or even just a half-day – that’s great! If you can’t, then make time to do this on your own.  No one has a greater stake in your professional development than you do, and if you do not value yourself highly enough to make this investment, you will have a hard time convincing others to make the investment for you.  Conversely, when you do believe in yourself, other people cannot help but notice; they will be attracted to your energy and drive, and will be eager to help you and to be a part of your success!

    Annually

    To truly reinforce all of these habits of self-management and professional development, nothing is better than total immersion in the company of thought leaders and peers who hold your values. Even with a mentor to help you through the work outlined above, self-improvement can often lead you to what feels like a lonely place.  Administrative colleagues who have not yet adopted a professional attitude about their career may be perplexed, and even threatened, by your ambition and accomplishments. Whenever possible, put yourself in the company of those who understand what you are doing and why. Conferences will help you clarify your vision, inspire you with new ideas and connect you to the people who are willing to make what may at other times seem to be a lonely journey.

    Step into the world of a conference, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, while you may be a pioneer among your peers, you are not alone in making this journey. I highly recommend making the time and investment to attend at least one major professional conference each year. A great choice, of course, is Office Dynamics’ own Conference for Administrative Excellence.  This year’s theme is The Accelerated Assistant, and if my experience last year is anything to go by, I promise it will deliver above and beyond what you can anticipate if you have not attended a conference before.  In fact, as I assimilate the enormous amount of new information and connections delivered by their 2016 program, The Revolutionary Assistant, I am still constantly finding new ways in which this investment pays off

    Conclusion

    We can choose to coast along comfortably in our administrative career, or we can choose to pursue excellence.  We can choose to uphold the status quo, or we can choose to seek continuous improvement. We can choose to let others dictate the path of our career, or we can choose to create a career that reflects the best of what we have to offer. Our careers – indeed, our lives – are driven by the values we hold and by the myriad small choices we make every day.  Choose to make yours a life of excellence by doing the common things uncommonly well.

    REFERENCES

    Burge, Joan “Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving

    Caldwell, Andrée “Executive Assistant?! What Is That Exactly…a Secretary?

    Hyatt, Michael “The Importance of the Quarterly Review

    Pavlina, Steve “Sharpen the Saw

     

     

    AUTHOR’S NOTE

    Tara E. Browne, DTM is an EA at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA, USA. Tara believes that administrative support represents one of the greatest areas of improvement opportunity in business. Collectively, administrative professionals are generally well-educated and represent a vast body of networked institutional knowledge about how business is done, yet are largely ignored in the endeavor to solve business pain. To leverage their knowledge and advance the profession, admins must learn to collaborate in new ways. In 2016, Tara founded MentorsAndMasterminds.com, a website dedicated exclusively to connecting administrative professionals (and former administrative professionals) in ways that support this vision.

     

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  • feedwordpress 13:45:56 on 2017/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Power of One 

    admin_training

    Welcome to May! Such a lovely time of year. I hope everyone has recuperated from an exciting Administrative Professionals Week. We did a lot of celebrating at Office Dynamics. On Wednesday, April 26 I hosted a Facebook Live where I spoke about what I love about the administrative profession and gave tips on how to shine in the profession. In case you missed it, you can access it here.

    Well, last week was very exciting for me because once again, I witnessed The Power of One. For more than 2 decades I have been talking to assistants about The Power of One. The concept is that it only takes 1 person to create change or 1 person to create something awesome. I use a visual of candles on a table. I light the first candle. This represents 1 person who has an idea. They take action on their idea and talk to another assistant or someone else in the company. Then another candle is lit representing the spark created from the first person. Then those 2 people go out and talk to others and light the fire in them about their idea. And then those 4 or 6 people go out and light a spark in others and before you know it . . . BAM! Something wonderful occurs that can change the life of many.

    I want to thank Cindy McConnell, EA to the CEO of Shure Incorporated for approaching me last October. Cindy said that Shure Incorporated had a beautiful auditorium and that they would like to be a host site for me to hold a one day workshop or mini-conference. Well, of course, I said yes. The great part of having a host site like Shure was that they provided the venue and all the A/V so Office Dynamics was able to keep the registration cost very reasonable.

    After I said yes to Cindy and we decided on a date, Cindy went into action and enlisted her administrative team. The fire was lit and it spread like wildfire. We ended up having 120 assistants from 20 states attend our full day program, Building a Star Partnership, in Chicago at Shure Incorporated. The administrative team went above and beyond what I imagined and I am eternally grateful to the ladies who put love and attention into the event. I’d like to give thanks to: Christine Clark, Claire Dorner, Janet Higgins, Nicole Rok, and Grace Sikora.

    So what does this mean to you? It means you can create a wildfire in your organization. It means you don’t have to just sit on the sidelines and watch life go by at work. You can be a catalyst for change. You can create something that will touch the lives of many. It means you will fulfill using some of your greatest assets and talents. Cindy McConnell loves putting on events as they do that often at Shure. I could certainly tell Cindy and her team love being hosts and doing an excellent job.

    During my 20 year career as an assistant, I had many opportunities where I was the “1” creating change. I started administrative training in a few of the companies where I worked. I started a special group for Assistants to CEO’s in 1990 in Virginia Beach and the group is still together—the group I started! Wow. Do you know how good that makes me feel? But it’s not about me. It is about others and utilizing your talents to help others.

    I started Office Dynamics in 1990, when there was no one company specializing in in-depth training for administrative professionals. There were training companies like Skillpath and AMA but they offered tons of programs for all types of careers. I saw a gap. I wanted to only focus on the administrative profession. There was a lack of quality, meaty training for assistants. It made no sense. So I lit my own fire with passion, enthusiasm, hard work and a desire to improve the quality of work life for assistants around the world. Here I am 27 years later. We have touched the lives of tens of thousands of assistants around the world. Not only have we touched lives, but now there are many others getting on the bandwagon to educate and support assistants.

    Do you see the power just 1 person can have? Do you see you can make a difference in the world? But it does take certain behaviors and characteristics. Here is a checklist for you.

    • Passion
    • A desire to make a difference
    • Hard work; willing to roll up your sleeves and dig in
    • Patience (tons)
    • Energy
    • Persuasion skills
    • Enthusiasm
    • A desire to learn in the area you are passionate about
    • Craft your skill
    • Good communication skills
    • Organizational skills
    • Self-management
    • Building a strong network

    What have you noticed in your workplace that needs changing? Or maybe what is missing for your administrative community? What about a process that can increase productivity?

    I bet if you took 15 minutes to think about it, there is something you are longing to do or change. What are you waiting for? Life is short. Move into action.

    administrative_assistant_conference

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  • feedwordpress 15:56:33 on 2017/04/28 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training, , , , , , ,   

    5 Ways To Amplify Your Personal Brand 

    administrative_blog

    “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” ~ Seth Godin

    It’s no secret the world has changed. You are doing more with less. Things are moving at the speed of light. And Google has become the new resume. The question is … what are you doing about it?

    How are you standing out? What are your points of distinction? And most importantly, how are you articulating that to your clients, your prospects, your boss, and your leadership?

    The real challenge in today’s society is simply getting the attention of the people that can buy from you, hire you, promote you and/or recommend you. You have to find a way to stand out and you have to do it in a way that is authentically you. This doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert in order to “stand out”. You can be your amazing introverted self and still find a way to rise above the noise.

    Bottom line: If you want to build career stability you need to be looking for ways to amplify your brand. And you have to do it now. The world is moving way too fast. The competition is way too fierce. It’s not “if” the economy will shift again, it’s “when”. So, what are you doing to protect the largest asset you own … the brand of YOU?

    Here are 5 things you can do right now to turn up the volume on your personal brand:

    1. Live in Permanent Beta
    It’s hard to get stuck somewhere old when you are always learning something new. This is what permanent beta is all about. It is about making a lifelong commitment to continual personal development. How do you do this? A few ideas:

    • Attend industry conferences.
    • Take a class at a local university.
    • Watch 2-­‐3 TED Talks per week. I literally write these into my weekly calendar to make it a priority.
    • READ! There is a study that shows if you read just 10 minutes per day, which typically equates to 10 pages per day, you will have read approximately Nineteen (19) 200-page
      books! Imagine how much your life will change if you are reading 19 life, business and personal development books a year. #MicDrop

    2. Know Your Points of Distinction
    Before you brand yourself you have to understand yourself. Do you know what makes you different than everyone else out there that does what you do? What sets you apart? What makes you unique? No one does it your way. No one has your unique set of skills, gifts and ideas. So be proud of who you are and own it! You should be able to answer these 2 questions:

    1. A company would hire you (or promote you) over another event professional because?
    2. What do you offer that’s hard to come by?

    3. Promote Yourself Internally
    You have to find ways to stand out within your current organization. When push comes to shove, will you be the one they can’t live without? Are you the one that provides the most value? Here are some things you can start doing at work right now:

    • Read the industry pubs and blogs, and then share articles and ideas with your team, leadership, boss and/or other departments that could help them do their jobs better or motivate them.
    • Volunteer to lead the next sales or team meeting to share that really cool idea you learned from the last book you read or the last industry conference you attended.
      Mentor someone in the company.
    • Start a task force to help solve a problem you see happening.
    • Always be looking for ways to help other people within your organization get what THEY want or need.

    4. Promote Yourself Externally
    You also have to put yourself out there on a larger scale. If you really want to expand your network you need a seat at the table. We are so lucky to work in an industry where you have so many choices to get involved at your fingertips. A few ways to start include:

    • Lead and volunteer within an industry organization -­‐ this right here is the secret sauce to all career success. So pick an industry association and get involved!
      Sit on industry panels.
    • Speak at the next conference.
    • Get published in a trade pub or start a personal blog.
    • Join Social Media Groups and be active by providing value and sharing resources to help others solve problems.

    5. Ignore the Haters
    I saved my favorite for last. This is the golden nugget. I bet the #1 reason you don’t put yourself out there is you are worried what other people will think. That they will judge you, make fun of you, or find you annoying. Guess what? People already don’t like you, find you annoying and are judging you. The Q is: Who are you living your life for? You … or them!

    By mixing up a recipe of these branding ingredients. You WILL amplify your brand. You will expand your network. You will create a competitive edge. Life is too short to blend in. Plus, who wants to stay stuck, and safe, and just the same?

    The world needs that special gift only YOU have.


    By Judi Holler

    Judi is an expert on personal branding who helps professionals learn how to expand their network, embrace fear and get a competitive edge. Judi will be speaking at our 24th Annual Conference For Administrative Excellence in October.

    free_webinars_for_administrative_assistants

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  • feedwordpress 13:45:26 on 2017/04/28 Permalink
    Tags: Admin Assistant Training,   

    In Your Writing, Know the Meaning of “Absolute” 

    This is part of a series by editor Barbara McNichol to provide tips for writing like a pro.

    Ever heard someone say “his bucket is emptier (or more empty) than mine”?

    How can something be emptier than empty?

    The same holds true for all “absolute” words. In grammar, “absolute” means it can’t be compared. That is, you would never use “less” or “more” in front of these absolute words:

    • perfect
    • final
    • first/last
    • complete
    • universal
    • destroyed
    • invisible
    • dead
    • unique
    • total
    • impossible
    • pregnant
    • ultimate
    • fatal

    Consider the word “destroyed.” If a hurricane sweeps through a small town, it’s tempting to say, “Our town was destroyed.” But be careful. Destroyed is an absolute that means totally, completely gone; it doesn’t exist anymore—no streets, no rubble, no fences standing. Chances are the more accurate word is “damage.” So watch out for absolutes, clarify their true meaning, and use them correctly.

    Your challenge: What other absolute words can you add to this list? Write them down.

    Today’s Word Tripper from Word Trippers Tips:

    Testimony, testimonial – A “testimony” is a declaration or affirmation of fact, such as given before a court. A “testimonial” is a formal or written statement affirming a truth. “The strong testimony he gave in court could be regarded as a testimonial to her strong character.”


    When you know how to write with precision, your professional reputation builds and your career can soar. Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping business professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created an annual subscription program called Word Trippers Tips. It features 52 Word Trippers of the Week, a webinar, crossword puzzle, writing tips, and the ebook Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Choosing the Right Word When It Really Matters. Details at www.WordTrippers.com/odi.

    This blog is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.

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    The post In Your Writing, Know the Meaning of “Absolute” appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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